by Joel Nelson
BUFFALO, N.Y. – In its first of a two-game weekend road trip, the Penn State Altoona women's basketball team dropped a close 84-78 decision to Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference foe Medaille College Saturday afternoon at the Sullivan Center.
"What a tough fight by both teams," said Penn State Altoona head coach Casey Shoup. "We played a high-intensity game for 40 minutes. Each one of the ladies played well and contributed. Shannon [Zimmerman] stepped up for us as a player and leader."
Penn State Altoona (7-9, 3-8 AMCC) found its stroke from three-point land, shooting 7-of-17 from downtown (41.2%). Paige Burk (Claysburg, PA/Claysburg-Kimmel) drained two of her five attempts from three-point land, while Kaley Strittmatter (Williamsburg, PA/Penn Cambria) hit a pair, as well.
Finnley Christine (Tyrone, PA/Tyrone) dropped 21 points on an 8-of-16 shooting performance, while also sinking all four of her free throw attempts. Christine also dished out seven assists and grabbed three steals – both team-highs.
Shannon Zimmerman (Pine Grove,PA/Pine Grove) shot 4-of-8 from the field, getting 10 points, four assists, and a team-high eight rebounds. Ijonana Laster (Niagara Falls, NY/Niagara Falls) snuck in 13 points, four rebounds, and three assists off the bench.
Medaille (10-9, 7-5 AMCC) got major contributions yet again from Dani Reinwald and Morgan Kennedy. The two shot a combined 22-of-38 (57.9%) from the field and contributed a total of 61 points and 39 rebounds. Kennedy scored 12 points in the third quarter on 6-of-7 shooting. Reinwald scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, hitting two field goals and ten free-throw shots.
"Dani Reinwald is a tough player. She is difficult to defense and keep off the boards," said Shoup. "They also got two big threes from Rayann Call and crucial times of the second half."
Medaille held a 13-9 advantage at the conclusion of the first quarter and possessed a 17-13 lead over Penn State Altoona with 7:09 left in the second quarter before Shoup's squad notched a 9-0 run with points from Christine, Strittmatter, and Laster to grab a 22-17 lead with 5:28 left in the second period. Medaille would fight back to take a 31-30 lead into the halftime intermission.
Penn State Altoona sparked another mid-quarter run, when they went from being down 39-33 with 7:31 left in the third quarter to leading 49-43 with 4:17 remaining in the period, a 16-4 run. The 39-33 lead for Medaille was its largest lead of the game, while Penn State Altoona's 49-43 lead was its largest. Christine made a three-pointer with seven seconds to go in the third quarter to cut Medaille's advantage to 56-55.
The Lady Mavericks held Penn State Altoona to six points within the final 3:30 of the fourth quarter to seal the 84-78 victory.
Medaille shot 83.3% from the free throw stripe, while Penn State Altoona shot 73.1%. The Lady Mavericks also led Altoona 29-12 on second-chance points.
The Lady Lions have now lost five of their last six conference games, but they will look to get back on the winning track starting tomorrow, Sunday, January 28, when they play AMCC opponent D'Youville College at 3:00 p.m. in Buffalo. Penn State Altoona finishes off the month of January on Wednesday, when they have a road game at Franciscan University.